Showcase Day 2 Recap

October 22, 2022


The 2022 Annual SIJHL Showcase wrapped up with a trio of games on Saturday at the Wessman Arena in Superior, Wisconsin.  The day included a pair of regular-season games along with an exhibition contest featuring the UW-S Yellowjackets (ACHA).

1:00pm Sioux Lookout Bombers (9) vs. Thunder Bay North Stars (2)

The Sioux Lookout Bombers made it two-for-two in their first-ever appearance at the SIJHL Showcase with a convincing victory over got the Thunder Bay North Stars.

The Bombers thought they earned a lead seconds into the game when a quick shot clearly went into the back of the net.  The goal however was disallowed as the puck had entered the goal from underneath the base of the net when it was momentarily lifted from it’s mooring on the play.

To make the Bombers’ matters worse, it was the North Stars who would strike for the first official tally of the game.

Bobby Dukov did most of the heavy lifting for the first official tally of the game as he corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and used his outside speed to beat the Sioux Lookout defender to gain a lane to the net.  Bombers netminder Jake Manners stood his ground, but the rebound rattled off the ensuing traffic and into the net.  Jonah Desrosiers was credited with the last touch.  Time of the goal was 10:02.

Sioux Lookout couldn’t convert on the only man-advantage situation of the period.  North Stars had a 16-8 edge in shots.

The second period though, started the way the Bombers had hoped and carried on right through the final buzzer.

A six-goal onslaught started at the 20-second mark when Tegan Neuman made the North Stars pay the price for some careless puck play in their zone,  and ended at 19:53 when Burke banged in his second of the night – and period – to stake the Sioux Lookout squad to a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes.

In between it was Burke’s first – just 11 seconds after Neuman opened the scoring – Phil Parker,  Jack Hale (both Hale and Parker’s goals on a 5-minute power play as a result of a major penalty to Thunder Bay’s Colby Feist for head contact), and Kalin Roy.

When the dust finally settled, Ty Baum had three helpers, and Connor Burke and Tegan Neuman had two each.  Lucas Trimarchi, Graeme Patrick, Aiden Parker and Tyler Decoff had singles.

The North Stars’ Bobby Doukov briefly tied the contest at two when he picked up a Drew Meloche clearing play and went in all alone against the Bombers’ Jake Manners making no mistake.  That setback did little to stall the Bombers attack.

Shots were recorded as 13-11 in favour of the Bombers.

Sioux Lookout added three more for good measure in the third to ensure the game was firmly in hand.  Connor Burke’s 5th of the season from his brother Blake and Decoff at 10:33.

Patrick got in on the action unassisted at 11:38 and Aiden Milburn potted his first of the season on the power play from Bahm’s fourth assist of the afternoon and Nolan Palmer.

The Bombers finished the game with four power play goals on nine chances as Thunder Bay’s frustrations mounted.  The North Stars were scoreless in three opportunities.

Final shots were  32-31 for Sioux Lookout.  The Bombers also swept the game’s three-stars selections, with Hale, Manners and Bahm being named first, second and third star respectively.

4:00pm Fort Frances Lakers (2) vs. Kam River Fighting Walleye (7)

The SIJHL’s leader in the standings, fresh off a loss to Dryden on Friday’s showcase opener, were in no mood for any charity towards the Fort Frances Lakers on Saturday afternoon as they looked to salvage a split from their trip to Superior.

Although credited with a win in the standings, the Lakers have yet to hear the final buzzer having scored more goals than their opposition in any games this season.  The Fighting Walleye were too much for them this afternoon as well.

It was all Fish from the get-go, turning a 26-shot barrage in the first period into a 3-0 lead by Zamboni time and never looking back.

It took defenceman Eli Neilsen just 2:10 to beat Fort Frances starting netminder Brenden Stroble with a wrister through a screen from just outside the top of the circle.  Ryan Doucette and Holden Woodcroft ensured their point-per-game start to the season would continue with assists on the play.

Then near the middle of the period, two in the span of exactly 30 seconds ensured the territorial advantage would translate to the scoreboard.

First it was defenceman Jack Cook on the power play, also with a wrist shot, beating Stroble, then seconds later Gallaher parlaying some hard work and tenacity from Carson Gorst along the wall into another face-off at centre ice.  Gallaher also recorded an assist on Cook’s goal, along with Euan Morrison.

Fort Frances could only muster 6 shots in response to Kam River’s effort.

Averaging less than two goals per game over their season to date, the Lakers situation looked bleak.

They did manage hold the fort long enough to open the second to try and push back.  Making the most of their limited opportunities, Fort Frances pulled to within two at 8:16 of the middle frame.  There’s no such thing as a bad shot on net, and off the rush Dyson Germann put a relatively harmless puck towards the cage that Walleye goaltender Jack Orchard failed to handle cleanly.

Driving the net and having had a couple of whacks at the loose puck, Ethan Elgie finally pounded it past a prone Orchard to get the Lakers on the board.  Brandon Rossetti had the other assist.

The comeback would be snuffed before it even really began though when the Fighting Walley moved the puck from their own hashmark to the back of the Lakers net in the span of a split second.  Jackson Egner fired a pass from his own end up the wall to the stick of Gallaher who was posted on the Lakers’ blue line.  Taking a couple of strides into the zone, Gallaher found a streaking Woodcroft who made no mistake to restore the three-goal cushion at 13:43.

Shots recorded in the second were 17-6 in favour of the Kam River club.

Kam River would add two more in the opening third of the final frame.  Cook – his second of the night at 4:15 – picked his spot again off a nifty face-off play.  Benjamin Thornley-Hall and Braedon Duchesne assisted.  To follow that up at 6:59 Gorst fired one off the rush from the top of the circle that blew past Stroble.  Euan Morrison and Neilsen added assists.

A minute later at 7:59, Fort Frances’ Jack Wood converted a slick rush with help from Dyson Germann and Elgie.

Finally, at 17:42 Gallaher unleashed a bullet – also off the rush – to beat Stroble high to the far side.  to round out the scoring at 6-2.

Final shots recorded were 61-17 for the Fighting Walleye who went 1 for 3 with the man advantage.  The Lakers were scoreless in only one power play opportunity for the game.

With two goals and an assist, Fighting Walleye defenceman Jack Cook was named the game’s first star.  Gallaher (2g, 2a) was the second star, and despite the lopsided loss, with 54 save performance Fort Frances’ Brenden Stroble earned the third star.

7:00pm Dryden GM Ice Dogs (16) vs. University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets (1) *Exhibition

The University of Wiscsonsin-Superior Yellowjackets ACHA Div 2 team agreed to participate in the SIJHL Showcase to help with scheduling and logistics.  With the Dryden GM Ice Dogs losing their second game as a result of the illness that forced the Red Lake Miners’ out of the weekend, the ‘Dogs and the Yellowjackets paired up in the Showcase finale.

In the exhibition contest, the undermanned and outmatched Yellowjackets whose season is just beginning provided little resistance to the SIJHL club, winners of six straight and in second place in the SIJHL standings.

Bryce Benfield led the way for Dryden with a hat trick.  James Hooton, Tyler Earl and Derek Koivisto added two each, and Brandon Mealiness, Ryland Maier, Liam Foley, Easton Debray, Max Roby, Brady Frattinger and Ben Hackl added singles.

Landon Stromme, Jordan Pfoh, Koivisto and Roby each chipped in three assists.

The loudest reaction of the night came when the Yellowjackets finally broke through as time was winding down to spoil the shutout of Dryden netminder Zac MacDonald.  Brayden Tyman was the architect whose effort drew a raucous ovation from the fans that remained.